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* Posts by Robert Heffernan

314 posts • joined 2 Jul 2007

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Dutch doctors replace woman's skull with 3D-printed plastic copy

Robert Heffernan
Holmes

The Other Half

I am assuming her bone thickening condition wasn't only taking place inside the top half of her skull. How are they dealing with the thickening in the bottom half that the neck, cheek, node and jaws are attached to?

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Shuttleworth: Firmware is the universal Trojan

Robert Heffernan

Wow

This would have to be the most intelligent thing I have heard Shuttleworth say!

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SpaceX set to try HOVER LANDING for re-usable rockets on March ISS mission

Robert Heffernan

Re: Chasing rainbows

Why waste fuel for nothing?

Sure you need extra fuel that could be used to launch additional mass into orbit, but the reality of launching rockets is... Fuel is Cheap! it's the launch hardware that is not. If you spend a little extra on fuel to save a lot on hardware your ahead.

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Intel, Sun vet births fast, inexpensive 3D chip-stacking breakthrough

Robert Heffernan

Re: Yes but what about supply voltage to each layer..

No, the power supply for each layer is done with conventional wire bonding, which for a few power wires around the edge of the die. The power wires can be done during the placement and bonding of each wafer.

The website has diagrams of how this works, they place the base die, put a layer of glue, align the next die on top, bond the power wires, put a layer of glue which encapsulates the power wires, places the next die, etc.

The upside of this approach is that there are only a few power wires per die (dependent on power consumption) which are bonded using existing low cost reliable technology. You aren't trying to make hundreds or thousands of connections between each layer using a new and extremely precise technology which increases manufacturing costs.

I can see a potential side-channel attack to this though.. what is the possibility of reading the inter-layer pulses externally to the chip?

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Robert Heffernan
Boffin

Re: Wow. NFC *finally* finds an actual use.

By the circuit diagram and signal trace image in the article it looks like there is no protocol involved. The sender is simple it just charges a coil on the high signal and discharges it on a low.

The receiver is a little more complex, when its coil pulses positive in response to the charging of the senders coil it sets a flip flops output to high. When the senders coil discharges the receivers coil pulses negative which is used to reset the flip flop which then outputs a low.

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Dell reveals 'proof-of-concept' ARM microserver

Robert Heffernan
Meh

ARM needs standards

ARM's biggest issue for mass adoption in microservers is the whole "on-a-chip" approach across multiple licensees who all tweak and fudge the hardware, memory maps and even instruction set.

It might be fine for the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon who can buy tens of thousands of units to run their own custom workloads but for the rest of us its a fragmented mess that requires porting of some kind for each vendors chip.

This is where intel shines, sure the instruction set is messy and the chips are power hungry but you know your architecture is solid, the operating systems are well known and stable and the tools are easy to use and stable.

Given time I can really see intel eating ARMs lunch, with the money and bodies they are throwing at atom to get the power and performance down to be competition to ARM, the standard and well known platform will become the deciding factor.

If ARM wants to survive this attack by intel it needs to reign in the licensees and require a 100% compatible architecture so if I compile code for Vendor A's server SoC, it will also run on Vendor D's competing SoC. I am not saying all SoCs have to be clones but the core feature sets have to be compatible, leave the integrated prepheral hardware support upto the OS, but I dont want to have to rebuild my workloads for every little variant.

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Apple's nonexistent iWatch to bag $17.5 BEEELION in first year alone – analyst

Robert Heffernan

Re: Can't wait to not buy this one!

My point being, those people who do wear watches, especially the "Flash and Expensive" ones, want a watch that is precision crafted, engineered by the best watchmakers the world has to offer, they are willing to spend 6 figures on a quality timepiece. They are going to look at a low 3-figure iWatch and wonder what kind of piece of shit that is.

The regular joe has a smartphone, if they have a watch its comfortable and practical, and in a woman's case, its usually dainty too. no matter what, Apple is going to be extremely hard pressed to fit a LiPo, cpu, ram, bluetooth, digitizer, piezio, lcd and charger all into the size of a practical watch.

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Robert Heffernan
Pint

Can't wait to not buy this one!

The last thing I want is a damn watch. I have been given plenty of flash and expensive watches in my life and I havn't worn one of them. It's getting rare to see a guy wearing a watch who's not some kind of suit trying to look important.

I can't possibly see a way to milk a dying market for $1Bil, let alone $12Bil let alone $17.5Bil!

*Go home Tim Cook, You're drunk!

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Eurocops want to build remote car-stopper, shared sensor network

Robert Heffernan

Re: Integration

@MJI

No, never on the UK Motorway. I have driven around Los Angeles though. But being an antipodean the worst I usually have to deal with is Kangaroos jumping out at me in the middle of the night on a Motorcycle, and Melbourne Taxi Drivers.

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Robert Heffernan

Re: Integration

@MachDiamond

Having worked for a manufacturer of Automatic transmissions (I was in charge of machining valve bodies) I have a very good understanding of the control systems in a transmission. It would require a modest change to the mechanics of the valve body to remove the physical linkage from gear lever to the valve that controls what gear mode is selected (Park, Neutral, Reverse, Drive etc), and place it under electronic control.

Power steering is a modern luxury, you are perfectly capable of steering a vehicle without it, in fact high speed on a motorway makes it easier to steer without it. My partner even drives a car without power steering and she has no problem with it around town.

Also, modern brakes are designed to function perfectly without any power assistance. In fact it is part of their legal design requirements that they must still function even if the power assistance features of the braking system are completely disabled.

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Robert Heffernan

Integration

Integrate this with the eCall system so police can call back to all vehicles in range, find the speeder, and disable it that way.

The idea of people getting wiped out by accident is ridiculous in that the system when disabling the vehicle could put the car in neutral, activate the hazard lights, disable the engine and lock the doors. The vehicle would coast to a stop and keep the offender/occupants safe inside the vehicle while other vehicles would give the target space as they should do when a car puts its hazards on and coasts to a stop

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LOHAN develops amazing mind-reading powers

Robert Heffernan

Ardupilot

So what was wrong with the Ardupilot?

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Meet NASA's Valkyrie: A SILKY BUSTY ROBO-MINX that'll save your life

Robert Heffernan

Serious Application

I got the joke ;-) but...

A serious practical application would be additional chest space for additional chest-mounted components, or mounting counter-weights further forward in order to balance the battery pack on it's back.

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Adorable, much-loved SEAHORSES are VICIOUS SLURPING KILLERS

Robert Heffernan
Trollface

3D Volume

I would hope you keep the Seahorse in a 3D Volume of water. Things would get messy fast if you tried to put it into a 2D Plane!

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XBOX ONE owners rage as HDMI SNAFU 'judders' Brit and Euro tellies

Robert Heffernan

New Standards

Chances are the console is upconverting the framerate and making a hash of it. My solution to the issue is this, Screw NTSC, screw PAL, screw 24fps, 30fps, 29.97fps, etc. There is no reason in the modern global age for there to be region specific standards. Standardise on powers of 2 framerates (15, 30, 60, 120fps, etc) where if your display has a 120hz display it just shows each frame of 60hz content twice or 120hz content on a 60hz panel shows every other frame. No stuttering, no jerking, and perfectly fluid playback.

Then standardise on a minimum frame size of 1920x1080. Only progressive content, interlacing is for the weak. If you want a higher frame size for ultra hd, scale it in powers of 2. 1920x1080, 3840x2160, 7680x4320, etc. That way when scaling you can just scale the size of the pixel.

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XtremIO in SSD brickup ballsup: 'We have seen over 150 ... so far'

Robert Heffernan

Too Cheap or Too Hot

Either the SSDs are budget models bought in bulk, relying on the overlying software protection to maintain data integrity, or the enclosures are sweating the SSDs to death.

Either option spells FAIL to me.

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Mixed bag of motors lifts India's budget Mars shot

Robert Heffernan
Trollface

Budget Design

Reading through the rocket technology types for each stage and the staging time lines it sounds like they also saved some money by doing their preliminary design and engineering work in Kerbal Space Program

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Snowden: Oh, PLEASE let me come to Germany and help Merkel with her phone

Robert Heffernan

Re: He'd be a fool to go and Germany would be a fool to ask

@AC-Nutter

If ZPE, Anti-Grav and FTL drives existed it doesn't matter how big your corporation is and how oil dependant it is you couldn't keep a lid on those kind of discoveries. The day an oil company gets ZPE is the day it becomes a power company, they could provide power for the entire planet for cents per megawatt and and it's 100% pure profit, they would become the richest company on the planet.

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Hate data fees but love your HD slab? Here's a better way to pay for bytes

Robert Heffernan

Advertising Too

This is also an issue I have with Advertising on the Internet. Why do I have to pay to view an advertisment? Ads of any kind take data to download and last time I checked, a meg of mobile data came with a complementary ass raping from the mobile provider in relation to the price. If advertisers paid for that bandwidth I would have no issue viewing the ads. Until then I will continue blocking the ads on my mobile

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Telstra plans to keep hands on government BEEELIONS

Robert Heffernan
Mushroom

Mandatory FTTP Needed!

The issue is being seen from the perspective of cost and not so much for what, ultimately, is better for the country as a whole.

The NBN is one of the largest national infrastructure projects ever undertaken, and is absolutely needed going forward because of one major issue. "Maximizing Shareholder Value".

Telstra own the overwhelming bulk of the cabling connecting households to the communications network, and this puts them in a position of being able to rape the customers wallet each month and return almost nothing to the community (The community are not shareholders, therefore: fuck you community) in the way of jobs (moving overseas) or maintenance to the network (Sorry sir, even though I heard noise in your line, I can't locate the fault with my testing equipment, so fuck you, live with it)

The NBN is all about replacing the aging copper network with a newer, more modern and easier and cheaper to maintain (going forward even though it's a lot of money and work to install) network that will service the country for a long time.

The problem with the politicians are they are generally useless, I can't even think of one who is really worth the money and I would be happy if they all just vanished. They are just attention whores and don't think they are doing their job if they agree with each other, let alone look at the big picture over a greater time period than the next election. Corporate executives are just as bad only they resort to back room dirty deals so they "Maximize Shareholder Value" making the rich people richer and themselves BILLIONS in bonuses.

The NBN's FTTP plan is what is needed to maximize the value to the community as a whole, fuck what Canberra and Telstra want, they don't own Australia, Australians do.

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Microsoft plugs Xbox One consoles into its cloud - what could go wrong?

Robert Heffernan
FAIL

Worst. Idea. Ever.

I have never bought into the whole cloud computing idea. It is just a whole load of fail waiting to happen, from cloud providers going bust to the NSA cherry-picking your data to being held hostage to vendor lock-in. Now by having chunks of your games being served up from some data center in the USA your going to get slapped with latency issues (sure, 20ms in America might be fine for yank gamers but 200ms for aussie or brit gamers is just the suck) And then how long will your game last? Publishers in the game space go bust all the time and with no one to pay the cloud bill gamers will be left to pick up the tab paying to play games they already own, then eventually they will all stop working a generation or two of console later when its no longer commercially viable to provide the cloudy side of the game any longer.

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New Development. Where do we go?

Robert Heffernan

Solid Servers

While Microsoft seems to be taking a real hammering on the client side of the ecosystem, I think the server side is actually pretty solid. While the stupid Metro start menu made it's way into the Server 2012 UI, the server manager is really nice. IIS is solid and the .NET 4.5 framework is awesome with the enhancements made for parallelism and other such things.

Using SQL Server, IIS and .NET you can build a solid foundation as a back-end for just about any front end you like from .NET WinForms/WPF to HTML5 to iOS and Android apps.

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Facebook sharpens ad-shifting tool: Soon users will eat creepily SPECIFIC ad-gloop

Robert Heffernan
WTF?

Targeted ads missing the point

The really odd thing I found is I recently bought some domain names from company 'X'. Before I bought them I was getting served up random un-targeted shit ads, Now I am getting spammed left and right on every site I visit wooing me to buy domain names from company 'X'. It's a bit late guys. I don't need any more domain names!

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Boffins have constructed a new LIGHT SABRE. Their skills are complete

Robert Heffernan
Headmaster

Lite Saber?

Just going out on a limb here guys....

What if the "Light" in Light Sabre really meant it's a Weight-Reduced version of a previous "Sabre" hand held weapon iteration?

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Our LOHAN rocket ship team exits Spain with a bang

Robert Heffernan
Flame

Re: What was cooking on the barbeque...?

Don't mind that, it was merely a North Korean spy who was caught trying to steal details of LOHAN and the rocket engine powering it. They are pretty desperate to steal the plans of a rocket that actually works.

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Boffins: Earth will be habitable for only 1.75 BEEELLION more years

Robert Heffernan
Unhappy

Baby Factory

"Actually we'd probably be OK sending a team of a few dozen females and a few thousand fertilized eggs"

I can't imagine ANY woman would volunteer for that!

"'ere luv, would you mind a one way trip to another planet where you'll be required to be constantly pregnant with 20 or so children back to back, then you got all the trouble of raising the little nippers"

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Telstra to DNS-block botnet C&Cs with unknown blacklist

Robert Heffernan
FAIL

This might be pretty effec... oh.

This might be effective for about 30 seconds. Media releases like this just let the malware writers know what happened when a big chunk of their botnet goes quiet.

In this case they will just modify their code to query a different DNS server and bam, back on line.

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Chap unrolls 'USB condom' to protect against viruses

Robert Heffernan

Simple!

Simple fix, Slit the plastic cover on the USB cable, expose the 4 wires inside.

Cut the two wires that arent Red and Black.

Put tape over the slit

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Intel shows off 'disaggregated' rack of servers, storage, and networking

Robert Heffernan
Trollface

Re: I get it now

Easy! Does the business use Intel Inside? No? Then its not safe.

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Snowden journo's partner wins partial injunction on seized data

Robert Heffernan
Facepalm

Amature Hour or What!

Any half brain-dead idiot would know ANY Snowden data is political plutonium and having it on your person will cause some serious damage from governments trying to recover it.

I personally would have rolled the data into a VDH or something encrypted with a drive encryption package, packed into a passworded encrypted rar file that has been encrypted with PGP, uploaded to a private sftp server via the TOR network.

My personal media would have then been either physically destroyed or scrubbed with a military grade drive cleaning tool, twice then reinstalled and filled with porn and torrent downloads.

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Bad timing: New HTML5 trickery lets hackers silently spy on browsers

Robert Heffernan
Headmaster

Re: Letters?

Letters do take differing amounts of time to render in that the source of the pixel data is vector based and the time taken to process the math to rasterise the letter is unique.

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Upstart's 'FLASH KILLER' chips pack a terabyte per tiny layer

Robert Heffernan
Headmaster

Yes, it's usually calculated by over-stressing the sample parts beyond recommended spec and then using some *creative* math to extrapolate the failure time based on the accelerated failure of the over-stressed component.

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Surprise! Intel smartphone trounces ARM in power trials

Robert Heffernan
Boffin

Easy To Measure

If you are doing this kind of testing on consumer electronics, soldering flying leads to the battery terminals is no big deal. Wire the battery in instead of insert it into the compartment and splice your current measuring devices into the cable. Easy.

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Better Place electric car outfit goes titsup

Robert Heffernan
FAIL

Chicken, Meet Egg.

See Title ^

It is one of those cases where it's a good idea on paper, but in reality won't work unless there is 100% of the infrastructure in place and ready for the public, plus a mandated requirement by governments for car manufacturers to conform to the specification required for the battery swapping tech, and we all know how well that will go down. Each manufacturer will want their own spec, hell, you can't even swap the batteries on a leccy car as it is!

Not to mention, In Australia, the idea is practically useless outside a major metropolitan area, apart from the self-charge fallback which makes the idea no better than a built-in battery.

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More than half of Windows 8 users just treat it like Windows 7

Robert Heffernan
WTF?

???

Try playing a DVD without installing a 3rd party app.

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Tea, Earl Grey, hot! NASA blows $125k on Star Trek 3D FOOD PRINTER

Robert Heffernan
Headmaster

Primitive Food Replicator

It sounds to me like a very primitive form of a "Star Trek" style food replicator. Walk up to the machine, tell it what you want and within a short time you have your freshly assembled meal ready to go.

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Samsung sends gigabit '5G' signal TWO WHOLE KILOMETRES

Robert Heffernan
Headmaster

Heating the air

If at such high frequencies you loose power into heating the air, it makes me wonder how effective these frequencies will be for applications like high bandwidth communications between orbiting satellites and the moon or satellites in orbit around mars?

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NASA on alert: International Space Station springs a leak

Robert Heffernan
Thumb Up

Easy Fix!!!

Duct Tape. Nuff said!

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ESA retires Herschel space telescope as too hot to handle

Robert Heffernan
Facepalm

Museum

"Hopefully by then we'll have the space-faring capability to retrieve it and bring it home to take its well-earned place in a museum or suitable institute of learning."

I wish we could do that for Hubble, it's going to wind up a molten streak across some ocean floor. Not a very diginified way to go for something that has expanded out horizon so immensely.

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Storage glitch sends Curiosity into safe mode

Robert Heffernan
Boffin

Two identical computers??

Personally, for this type of application, both computers would be different architecture, different PCB layout, dIfferent component manufacturers and different vendors. The OS would also be different so that no matter the failure mode, there is no chance the spare computer could suffer the same fault.

There is a very real chance that both A and B computers were made side by side and the flash is from the same batch. If the flash is found to be defective then there is one computer with cactus flash and one suspect, a ticking time bomb.

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Is world's first space tourist Dennis Tito planning a trip to Mars?

Robert Heffernan
Flame

Definately Possible

There is no reason why a manned mars mission couldn't be done with civilian off-the-shelf hardware.

Between SpaceX providing the capsule and launcher, and Bigelow providing an in-space habitat, and diving companies providing pressure suits for on-ground operations, it could all be done extremely cheaply and with little in the way of red-tape of the kind NASA had to go up against.

It would be EXTREMELY cheap in that what company isn't going to want the PR from having their gear used in the first manned mars shot. They will either be handing it over for free or throwing out any and all profit on said gear just for the priviledge.

Can you imagine Tito walking up to them plucky rovers on Mars, swapping out the batteries for a new set, giving the Solar panels a dust-off, spraying some Space WD-40 into the wheels to free them up and kicking it in the ass to get it moving again.

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BANG and the server's gone: Man gets 8 months for destroying work computers

Robert Heffernan
WTF?

Re: Physical security of server room ?

I just started as one of three developers for a local company. The server room is a locked room that can be opened just by giving the door a good shove.

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Hard drive sales to see double-digit dive this year

Robert Heffernan
Facepalm

"Are all those CD's and DVD's of yours sat on top of of a pile of cassette tapes and vinyl?"

Umm, nope. I'm not that old, although as far as durable long term analog storage goes you can't beat vinyl. By now cassettes from that era would be muffled from the magnetic fields from the spooled tape bleeding together.

As has been said, the utopia of content downloads would be a win win for everyone but this is the real world and people don't have always on all-you-can-eat connections with megabits of bandwidth that is available 99.999% of the time. Until the day of ubiquous broadband for everyone worldwide there will always be a market for optical media.

As a side note, the reason Blu-Ray has largely failed to penetrate the market and render DVD obsolete is Sony's license fees and the high price of the media. 25gb of DVD-R is still WAY cheaper than a 25gb BD-R disk

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Robert Heffernan
Angel

Re: Death of optical

I can see USB optical drives as a benefit, definately easier to replace a USB than cracking the case.

I can also imagine Apple removing the optical drives, charging $0 less for the privelige and then making an Apple branded USB drive and charging a.shit-tonne for it because it's got an Apple logo on it

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Robert Heffernan
Facepalm

Death of optical

I seriously doubt the death of optical storage. Just looking at the amount of DVD amd BD media I have around my house. It's crazy to think that it will go away. Also for a cheap archival medium, you can't do much better than less than $0.05/Gb

Sure, ultra books or tablets don't have the drives but laptops, desktops and servers will still need them for years to come

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Patent trolling surges, but righteous cavalry on the way

Robert Heffernan
Thumb Up

Best look on patents I have seen.

I found a video the other day of a talk given by Nathan Siedle, founder and CEO of SparkFun electronics. It would have to have the BEST take on (in this case hardware but it will work just as well with software) patents I have seen. It's definitely worth a watch..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGhj_lLNtd0

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Do Not Call Register operator breaches Register

Robert Heffernan
Facepalm

30 Days?

In this modern era of the internet and always on services, there is no reason that the 30 day wait should even exist.

The automated dialing systems used in call centers should check the number to be dialled against the live DNCR, that way the moment someone adds their number to the register, the calls stop.

There is no technical reason they can't do it except for maybe the DNCR and the call centers don't want to pay an ongoing data fee for all that checking in which case they could download the current copy of the DNCR to their system which then checks every so many hours for changes then applies them to the local system.

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Shh! Proxima Centauri can hear us!

Robert Heffernan
Headmaster

USB Dongle SDR?

I wonder if using the right kind of setup, you could point an antenna at the moon and detect the reflected radio noise from the moon on one of the DVBT/SDR USB dongles?

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Kim Dotcom shows off new mega service

Robert Heffernan
Trollface

@Psyx

" The recording industry could simply swamp Mega with take-down requests at the rate of a few thousand a day. Mega can either then comply and not be business-viable due to admin costs, or it'll sink. It's a technique that's been used before."

thats very true, if i was doing it i would provide a simple page for content owners to use that they can provide a link to illegally hosted content, some type of evidence that said file actually is infringing and a captcha so that you can be sure the page isnt being "abused" by spam bots, etc.

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Robert Heffernan
Thumb Up

@Invidious Aardvark

"There's nothing to stop the user passing the key in the URL, I guess, except it seems a somewhat insecure method of transmitting your key. Encryption only works when your key is secret, if you're broadcasting it to the world every time you request a file then why bother encrypting at all?"

That's easy! It's just so that the file host (Kim Dot Com's new outfit) cannot read the file themselves, thus tunneling a nice new loop hole in the laws that Megaupload got slapped with. Since this new site has no way of reading the contents of the files, they cannot possibly ever know that the file uploaded contains copyrighted data.

It shifts ALL the burden of responsibility to the users of the service, you can store your files encrypted in the cloud, completely secure even if the servers are hacked or taken by the fuzz, or you can share a link with your friends that lets them download and decrypt the file.

I would assume that ALL the file encryption/decryption is done on the user's side, possibly in-browser through some javascript, so that there is no way at all that the original unencrypted data passes to the cloud server, that way there is no way that they could know what was just uploaded was infringing in some way.

I think it's a pretty clever and damn good service that will manage to skirt the law much to the annoyance of the FBI, RIAA, MPAA , etc

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